Crux Cigar Company is a new company to the boutique cigar market. The company is coming out of the gate strong for 2014. They have recently launched three cigars, and plan on adding three more lines. One of those new lines soon to be added is the focus of today’s assessment, the Crux Passport. Crux as a whole also seems to be taking a very different approach as they definitely are catering to the cigar connoisseur by focusing around the “connoisseur sizes” – namely smaller ring gauge. The Crux Passport will be such a line as all three vitolas will fall under a ring gauge 48 and under. Today, we take a closer look at this upcoming release. Overall, this line was impressive, and it leads me to believe Crux could become a player in the boutique world before 2014 is over.
Crux Cigar Company was formed by Jeff Haugen and Joel Rogers, who own Tobacco Grove in Maple Grove Minnesota. The duo has looked to build on their experience on the retail end as they enter the world of manufacturers. The company is currently working with Nestor Plasencia’s Plasencia S.A. factory in Esteli, Nicaragua to make their cigars.
In terms of the Crux Passport, let’s take a closer look at the Crux Passport and see what this cigar brings to the table. Since we are smoking a pre-release sample, we will default to our pre-review format to share our thoughts and perspectives. Once the cigars make their way to retailers, we will revisit this cigar and provide an assessment rating and score.
Right now, the company has not publicly disclosed the blend information, so as such we will treat it accordingly.
Wrapper: Not disclosed
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed
As mentioned, the Crux Passport will be released in three sizes – each with no larger than a 48 ring gauge.
7 x 40
5 1/2 x 44
6 x 48 (Marblehead)
For this cigar experience, I smoked the 5 1/2 x 44 Crux Passport – which is in the corona-size range. The Crux Passport has a medium brown wrapper. Depending on how the light shines on it, you may see varying degrees of colorado red to it. There is some oil not he surface of the wrapper. There are some visible veins. The wrapper seams are visible upon close examination.
The band to the Crux Passport features two shades of blue. In landscape mode is the white and red Crux cigar logo sitting on a dark blue background. There are two passport-like eagle logos to the left and right of the Crux logo. The lower part of the band has a passport-like “stamp” pattern with the two shades of blue. On that pattern is the text “PASSPORT” in white font. On the back of the band is a black, gold, and red “crusader-like” dagger.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of my Crux Passport. Once the cap was successfully removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw yielded a mix of earth and chocolate. To a lesser extent I picked up some notes of citrus and pepper. Overall I considered this to be a very good pre-light draw experience. I was now ready to light up my Crux Passport and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
The start to the Crux Passport started some black pepper. I detected this pepper on both the tongue and the retro-hale. This was soon joined by notes of earth and chocolate. In the early stages of the cigar I found the chocolate, earth, and pepper notes all on even ground with no flavor dominating the others.
In the middle of the first third, the chocolate notes moved into the forefront with the earth and pepper notes secondary. There also was a natural tobacco flavor int the background that added some nice sweetness. During this stage, I picked up some citrus notes. At times the citrus was a little acidic, but at other times it provided some additional sweetness.
In the second third, the citrus notes dissipated. I now found the earth and chocolate notes alternating as primary flavors in the second third. There was a slight increase in the pepper notes. The natural tobacco remained in the background.
The last third saw the earth and pepper notes take over. Both the natural tobacco sweetness and chocolate notes were now distant background notes. The end of the cigar was spicy, but it didn’t assault the pallet. The resulting nub was excellent – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
I found the Crux Passport to score nicely in the construction attributes of burn and draw. For the most part the burn line remained straight – and really didn’t require much maintenance to keep it that way. There were a couple of points where there was a little jaggedness to the burn, but this was more cosmetic than anything. The resulting ash was charcoal gray with some darker spots to it. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.br />
|Burn of the Crux Passport|
The draw was open on this cigar. I wouldn’t categorize it as overly loose, but it was very easy to puff on this cigar. The Crux Passport produced a nice abundance of smoke. The cigar never was in danger of burning hot or fast either.
Strength and Body
On the Crux web-site, they position the Passport as being closer to full. In terms of strength, I still had this more of being a medium strength cigar and just a tad short of being medium to full strength. As for the body, there definitely was some nice depth to the flavors. I assessed this cigar as being medium to full-bodied – much closer to “full” for this characteristic. When comparing strength versus body, I gave an edge to the body here.
When I look at the strategy of what Haugen and Rogers have taken, it definitely goes against the grain of what much of the cigar industry is doing. They have definitely gone in the direction of thinner ring gauges. In fact the company’s first three releases were all ring gauges of 32 and 33! While planned lines such as Classic and Bull and Bear will have larger ring gauges, I’m still intrigued by Crux’s strategy. If the Passport is any measure of how successful this will be, it appears the duo is heading in the right direction. This was an enjoyable and flavorful smoke with excellent construction. The blend seemed to shine in the corona size. Finally, my gut tells me the aging potential will make this blend even better. This is a cigar I’d recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a line and a company I certainly will look out for. It’s easily a cigar I’d smoke again.
Body: Medium to Full
News: Crux Cigar Company Launches With Three Blends, Three More to Follow
Source: Sample Provided by Manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a
* The cigar for this assessment was given to Cigar Coop by Crux Cigar Company. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but this does not influence the review.